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All the trappings


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Darren Knight Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Melbourne based artist Rob McHaffie.

The images in McHaffie’s paintings are often derived from shapes formed from roughly assembled and seemingly mismatched objects. Rather than paint from life, McHaffie chooses what could be described as the poor man’s life model, sculpting characters from modeling compound and adding scraps of fabric, discarded clothes and bric-a-brac to create imagined portraits and tableaus. This method contributes to an unusual mixture of pathos and amusement in the paintings. The scenes depicted might simply be laughable, if it were not for the fact that the artist has captured within each scene (and echoed within each title) certain life truths.

McHaffie’s paintings parody the desperations and insecurities of human behaviour, while at the same time celebrating their comic possibilities.

About his studio practice Rob McHaffie recently commented:

I struggle with painting, always trying to paint something that'll hit the spot, cover all bases. 'I can’t get no satisfaction, but I try'. Painting peoples’ faces from magazines can become dangerous so I started to sculpt the peoples’ portraits I wanted to paint. You'll find bits and pieces of everyone, everything and nothing in my work. I try to keep it open and feed it like a fire. It's scary when the fire goes out (usually means I have to leave the studio and face some sort of fear in the real world). I suppose that is why Jimi Hendrix was so passionate about burning his guitar. I'd like to some day burn my paint brushes. Keep on movin forward, sidewards, backwards, up and down. Better to light a guitar on fire than complain about the dark.
Rob McHaffie, September 2006

Rob McHaffie’s work can also been seen in the current exhibition Primavera 2006 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (12 September - 19 November). Previous solo exhibitions include Still lives, Spacement Gallery, Melbourne in 2005; Crumpled Date Paintings, MOP Project Space, Sydney in 2004; and Yakadee Yak Yah Yah Yah, with Michelle Ussher, Linden Gallery, Melbourne, in 2003. His work has been included in group exhibitions including and The air between us, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne in 2005. McHaffie’s awards include the Linden Postcard Award in 2003; and the VCA Contemporary Drawing Prize in 2002.

This is Rob McHaffie’s first solo exhibition with the Darren Knight Gallery. All the trappings is accompanied by an illustrated colour catalogue, available from the gallery for $5.50 plus postage. Email info@darrenknightgallery.com for details

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